Today was the first day of school for most kids in Las Vegas. Both parents and kids were full of excitement and maybe just a little bit of anxiety this morning. Alarm clocks buzzing, lunch bags and backpacks getting double checked so that nothing is forgotten, new shoes laced, tied, and double tied for plenty of playground fun, and we can’t forget about those first day photos getting posted to Instagram, Facebook , Twitter, and texted to grandparents.
But none of that happened here in our house. The kids and I slept in until 8:30am. My husband and I enjoyed a big breakfast and coffee out on the patio while the kids ran around in their bathing suits splashing in the rain and the kiddy pool water slide. Now Jackson is napping, Marley is watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, hubby working in the garage, and I’m cranking out this blog.
Why isn’t Marley starting school today? Well…here’s what I told my next door neighbor when she asked me this morning.
Marley is still only three, and not turning four until November. This means she won’t be starting Kindergarten until fall of 2015 because of the age cut off here in Nevada. As a stay at home mom, I don’t think it is necessary to send her to two years of preschool. We spend a few hours each day working on preschool activities, and also incorporate learning into everything we do; from trips to the grocery store, gardening in the backyard, or strolls through the park. I run a neighborhood mommy meet up group so the kids get plenty of socialization. My husband’s work schedule gives him quite a bit of time home, making it easy for us to go camping, hiking, to museums, visit local orchards and farms, and take countless road trips exposing the kids to hands on learning opportunities like our upcoming trip to the Astronomy Festival at Great Basin National Park. We are even giving a little bit of thought about homeschooling our kids completely.
I go back and forth on homeschooling. There are so many pros and cons to consider. As a blind parent I will definitely have a few more challenges with home schooling than a sighted parent. I can’t read handwriting, so I will have a tough time teaching my kids how to write. I am not very tech savvy, and a lot of the curriculum comes from online sources, including PDF format which aren’t screen reader friendly. However, homeschooling would mean we would have more control over our children’s education. Nevada has one of the worst public school systems in the nation. We can continue to incorporate learning in our frequent family trips. We won’t need to worry about things like bullying, unhealthy school lunches, transportation, etc. Like I said, so many pros and cons.
So for the next two years, at least until I need to make a decision about Kindergarten, my kids will be getting their education here at home. I’ll talk to more parents who have chosen to homeschool and do the research so that we can make the best decision for our family. For the next two years we won’t need to worry about alarm clocks on Monday morning delegating the start of another week. I am going to suck up every moment of our family quality time. Whether those moments may be adorable, annoying, or aggravating, they’ll be gone before I no it.
Quite a few blind moms homeschool. We have a yahoo group called blindhomeschooler if you’re interested in learning more. There is also a facebook group with the same name. Tons of good information, support and tips there. 🙂
Thank you Erin. I will check out the group on Facebook. A friend has added me to a few other homeschooling groups on FB. It is nice to have the resources and support.
Terri, Just today I was asking Maryjo Hartle (another blind mom you know) for ideas on practicing handwriting tactily; She suggested a new thing called the Sensational Blackboard. You can do raised line drawings and writing using a regular pen and paper. Check it out on youtube and for sale at the NFB store at http://secure.nfb.org/ecommerce/asp/product.asp?product=1125&cat=64&ph=
I’m pretty excited about it myself. -Louise
Thanks Louise. I’m excited to check it out. BTW is Miriam going to preschool this year? I know her birthday is in October, will she be in the same grade as Marley or starting Kindergarten next year? I keep meaning to call you, but the time difference would make it late in the evenings by the time I get a minute to myself for a decent phone conversation.